A lead actor in a Disney movie should not be on a public stage in a foreign country joking about assassinating the president of the United States.
That’s not only bad for business — it’s entirely inappropriate for someone who at least in part represents a company that creates products geared for young children.
“When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” the 54-year-old Depp joked Thursday night at a drive-in movie theater in Glastonbury, England. He was referring to how actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln.
“I think he [Trump] needs help and there are a lot of wonderful dark, dark places he could go,” said Depp. What came next was a little more disturbing: “I want to clarify, I am not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it has been a while, and maybe it is time.”
If Kathy Griffin’s now-infamous photo shoot with the likeness of the president’s bloody head warranted her firing by certain companies, shouldn’t Depp’s comments be enough for Disney to part ways with him?
Depp apologized for the comments in a public statement: “It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.” The apology rings as hollow as Griffin’s; Depp told the audience on Thursday that he knew his words would “be in the press.” He knew what he was saying and was trying to cause an uproar.
Entirely inappropriate remarks about the president aren’t the only reason Disney should let go of Depp. The actor also faced recent allegations of physical abuse during his divorce proceedings from 31-year-old actress Amber Heard.
The couple officially divorced in August of 2016, but court documents published by Deadline painted a disturbing picture.
“During his recent divorce from Amber Heard, Depp also [publicly] and repeatedly denied having physically abused his former wife and [publicly] accused her of manufacturing the allegations to ‘extend her fifteen minutes of fame,'” the published document said in part. “However, [Joel] Mandel was informed well after the fact through communications with various house staff and security that Depp had been extremely volatile and had sometimes ‘gotten physical’ with Heard. Mandel was also later informed that Depp had violently kicked Heard during an incident that took place in or around 2014.”
Depp has denied the claims. The material published by Deadline, however, also accused him of forcing others to lie on his behalf and to paint Heard as “lying to the public and to public authorities.”
The documents from his former management team also say the actor made “efforts to strong-arm others to lie on his behalf, when confronted in any way regarding his outrageous conduct or when called upon to accept responsibility for his own behavior and actions.”
None of this sounds like someone who should be selling a movie to children or having a public platform with a company such as Disney.
Depp could be having a personal meltdown of sorts. The Hollywood Reporter published a story recently in which insiders apparently informed them the actor had been nothing but trouble on the set of his latest “Pirates” movie. Some accused him of being a “train wreck,” of excessive drinking and of making extras wait some days for hours on end.
It is clear rumors about Depp’s behavior and his recent “joke” about assassinating Trump are winning him no favors with fans.
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A lack of action regarding Depp’s behavior would not be a positive thing for Disney in terms of its reputation with audiences.
Depp has the right to say whatever despicable things he chooses — but as with the Kathy Griffin case, companies should understand how damaging it can be to continue having business relationships with such individuals.